Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oct.1st: Family Circus - The Silent K

Hello everyone!

Today’s comic is Family Circus.  This one features Billy and his spelling words.  All the words begin with a silent K.

Comic Breakdown

“Why do I have to keep writin’ in these K’s when they don’t make any noise anyways?” – Billy.

They refers to the spelling words of know, knot, knee, and knob.

Silent sounds

The double consonant digraph (a digraph is two letters that make one sound) of “kn” makes the same sound as the single letter “n”.  The words in the comic sound like this.










Interesting Fact: The word “know” sounds like the word “no” and the word “knot” sounds like the word “not”; these are examples of homophones

What is a homophone?  A homophone (means the same sound) are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have a different meaning. 

The words “knob” and “nob” are also homophones.  A “knob” is a round door handle.  The word “nob” is a British slang (informal words or phrases) that means someone that is wealthy or in a high place socially.   Used as slang, the word “nob” also has many rude and impolite definitions. 

Who struggles with the digraph “kn”?

Because the “k” in the digraph “kn” is silent, most people including native English speakers struggle with reading and spelling words that begin with the silent “kn”.  For native English speakers, children often have a hard time with “kn” because it is not phonetic.  To early readers and writers, native and ESL, there is no difference between the spellings of the words “know” and “no”.  The word “know” should be spelled as “no”. 

For example, when you show a child the word “know”, they are likely to pronounce it as “k-now”.  The same thing would probably happen for an ESL student.  Many early readers, native and ESL, know how to read and write the words “no” and “now” but not “know”.

Therefore anyone new to reading and writing in English, foreign or native, must memorize the sound and spelling of “kn” words. 

Why  is “kn” silent?

The silent letter “k” in “kn” is a reduced sound in modern English.  Words in English that start with “kn” were originally written as “cn” in Old English.  The sound “kn” is Germanic and most Germanic languages still pronounce the “k” in “kn” words.  English is considered a West Germanic language.  The sound of “kn” was not silent in English until after the 1600s. 

Spelling: The proper way to write “writin” (means to write) is “writing”.  The spelling of writing as writin’ (the apostrophe takes the place of the last letter) is a short form that should only be used in quotation (speech). 

Today’s images are from here and here

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